Ed Sheeran’s “End of Youth” Lyrics Meaning

Ed Sheeran’s sixth studio album, “Subtract” came out on 5 May 2023 via Atlantic Records and Asylum Records. Amongst the 14 tracks found on its playlist is “End of Youth”, which was written exclusively by Ed though produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, who seems to be all over the place these days.

(“Subtract”) was preceded by these singles:

The Lyrics of “End of Youth”

There are a lot of ruminations being relayed here, more than what we usually find in an Ed Sheeran song. It can even be said that “End of Youth” is philosophical, with the argument being, reading in-between the lines of Ed’s own explanation, that the innocence of youth is basically destroyed by the loss of loved ones. 

Or relatedly, it can transpire by witnessing others close to you losing their own dear friends and relatives as the years go by. That is when the “pain starts taking over”, i.e. the type of sadness which an individual, as implied in the chorus, may never be able to fully escape from. 

“Is this the endin’ of our youth when pain starts takin’ over?
I just don’t know if I can ever just let it go
Everything’s fallin’ apart, when love is real, there’s never closure
I guess it’s all part of life, but I can’t help but feel low”

As further alluded to in the pre-chorus, people passing away is a phenomena such that never ends, further lending to that sorrow.

Or put otherwise, going back to Sheeran’s explanation, this song is meant to relay a sentiment of grief, the type that comes with the realization that the carefreeness of youth will never be reclaimed again. 

Sometimes the said grief can strike a person very young, even before puberty, if they were to for instance lose someone that’s very close to them.

But as for the lyrics themselves, it’s a matter of perspective as to if they successfully relay those ideas or not. What is more soundly put forth, once again, is there being a certain point in a person’s life when youth is forever lost, not due to maturity per se but rather as a result of having to deal with some of the negative aspects, such as grief, which are part and parcel of being human.

End of Youth
The Summary

According to Ed Sheeran, his youth came to an end the moment he experienced grief for the first time in his life. He is therefore using the lyrics of this song to state that the demise of one’s youth comes more as a result of grief than the actual process of maturing. At least that’s what happened to him.

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    I like this song.

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